Academics

At The Frederick Gunn School we give our students the lifelong learning and leadership skills they need to be active and responsible citizens, both locally and globally. We prepare our students for what’s next as they continue to learn and grow, in college and in life. It all begins in the classroom, yet because we are a boarding school, it intentionally spans across all of our on-campus experiences. 

Innovative learning ecosystem
Our timeless educational philosophy, with its emphasis on challenging academics, character development, curiosity, risk-taking, problem solving, and independent thinking, will meet every student where they are, while never letting them stay there. At The Frederick Gunn School, our learning ecosystem champions the interdisciplinary and experiential nature of life and learning, incorporating athletics, arts, and the outdoors into everyday life alongside ambitious academics.
 
Risk-taking and innovation
Frederick Gunn’s own entrepreneurial mindset is as relevant for our students in the twenty-first century as it was for his students in the nineteenth century. Our new Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship, opening in the Fall of 2023, will house our Entrepreneurship Program alongside our Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy and our IDEAS Lab. This entrepreneurial mindset will be integrated into every one of our programs on campus, as we prepare our students to take risks and to be makers not consumers.
 
Learning yourself and how to learn
The key to 21st century skills is the work for each of our students to understand themselves as integrated human beings who are unique as individuals and as learners. Exemplified in our Center for Academic Excellence, these priorities are found through our advising program, in our Student Progress meetings, as well as in every single classroom at Frederick Gunn.
 
Public character and active citizenship
The mission of the Frederick Gunn School is to form active citizens who will have a positive impact here on campus and out in the world. While they learn these principles explicitly through the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy, we know that it takes an ecosystem of adults committed to this work to ensure this outcome for our students.
 
A sense of rootedness and place
Exemplified by Gunn Outdoors, a sense of rootedness and place is important for all Frederick Gunn School programs, as this exemplifies Frederick Gunn’s instincts around place-based and experiential learning, a commitment to the natural world, instincts for sustainable living, and practical, life-skills outcomes for every Frederick Gunn student.
 

Teaching and Learning

Academic News

Ryan Ryu '25 at United Nations Headquarters, New York

In February, 15 students from The Frederick Gunn School Model United Nations program will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 60th North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN), the Western Hemisphere’s preeminent high school Model UN conference. Gunn students will be among more than 3,300 participants at the four-day conference, one of the oldest in the country, featuring “40 mini-simulations, ranging from standard committees like the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to crisis simulations of various regional organizations, national cabinets, corporate boards, and political organizations,” NAIMUN said. The conference is staffed by 250 undergraduate students from Georgetown University, and seeks to “inspire, educate, and empower the next generation of leaders in government, business, and international affairs.” 
 

Flying Back in Time_YoYoZhang24

Two students from The Frederick Gunn School have been selected to participate in ASAP!’s 12th annual Celebration of Young Photographers. Daniel Conlan ’26 and YoYo Zhang ’24 will have their original photographs featured in a juried exhibition on Sunday, November 13, from 2-4 p.m. at Bryan Memorial Town Hall in Washington Depot. If you would like to attend the exhibit, registration is required. Click here to register online.
 

Jacob Rothman '24

The Junior Speech is a rite of passage at The Frederick Gunn School. Every student gives a speech in front of the entire school, and everyone, all 400 students and faculty, listens when a speaker bravely steps up to the podium in the Tisch Family Auditorium. When a Gunn student presents their Junior Speech, it is their chance to speak from the heart, to put their voice out there, and to stand up for what matters to them.
 

Meeting House on the Green_Convocation 090822

On September 8, the community gathered inside the historic Meetinghouse on The Green to celebrate Convocation and the beginning of our 173rd year as a school. The highlight of this year’s ceremony was the presentation of a new teaching chair. Kelsey Brush of the Mathematics Department faculty was named the first recipient of the Thomas R. King ’60 Family Chair for Excellence in Teaching. The award was presented by Head of School Peter Becker and Trustee Tom King ’60.
 

JonandLizzieTisch_PeterBecker_PatrickDorton_CIACGroundbreaking061822

The community welcomed Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch ’72 to campus on June 18, 2022, for the official groundbreaking of the transformational building that will bear their names: the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship. Construction on the site of the 24,000-square-foot academic building, scheduled to open in fall 2023, has already begun, as the former Science Building, which opened in 1968, is being removed to make way for the new center. 
 

Investiture 2022 Procession

On May 30, the day following Commencement, rising sophomores, juniors and seniors gathered on the Glade and processed into the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center by class to mark the transition to the new school year at Investiture. 
 

Class of 2022 Commencement_group photo in Bourne Garden

The Frederick Gunn School graduated 94 students, representing 14 states and 10 countries, in the Class of 2022 at its 172nd Commencement Exercises, held Sunday, May 29, 2022. The graduates were encouraged to be active and courageous citizens in the world by remaining true to themselves, by exercising their moral judgment, by embracing the outdoors, and by continuing to learn — all in the spirit of school founder, abolitionist, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn.